Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing students for internship positions at my company. I really enjoyed their enthusiasm; it reminded me of my days as an intern and a college student preparing for interviews.
Now I’m sure back in my early days, I wasn’t an excellent interviewee. I had a lot to learn. That being said, there are some job interview basics I – and you now – should have down…
Thank you for dressing up and wearing a tie! Now stop playing with it. This makes you look nervous and it distracts me, the interviewer, from fully focusing on the content of the answers you are delivering. Also, stop bouncing your leg up and down. Be animated when giving your answers, hint (again): we love enthusiasm, but don’t shake or fidget or play with pieces of your outfit.
Shake Hands at the Beginning and End
You’ve all nailed down shaking hands at the beginning to introduce yourself and start off on a good note. However, you need to shake hands at the end and say thank you as well. I may have purposely not offered my hand first in order to see if you would extend yours (which you should).
Send a Follow-up Thank You
I was very happy to see that half of the people I interviewed sent me a quick follow up email the next day. Thank the interviewer for their time, note a small detail from your discussion you found particularly interesting, and remind them again that you are interested (and why!).
Provide Detailed Yet Concise Answers
I want you the answer the questions in a way that gives me the information I am looking for, with enough detail for me to understand, but without going on and on. Continuing to talk for too long and I my mind will start to loose focus.
Don’t Use Vulgarity or Swears
Believe it or not, I have to throw this one in here. Do not swear or use vulgar language. My current department swears frequently and no one bats and eye, it is part of our little sub-culture. However, in an interview you do not know what the culture is and should be on your best behavior.
Don’t Throw Your Teammates “Under the Bus”
When we are looking for a “time when…” you stepped up to take the lead when it wasn’t asked of you, don’t throw your team under the bus to make yourself look like the hero. Maybe that was the truth of how the real situation played out, but we don’t want to hire people who will undermine their team to get ahead.
Know the Answer: “Why Do You Want to Work Here?”
Hint: the correct answer is NOT “because my mom/dad/uncle set this interview up for me”.
Having a parent that is there to help is wonderful, I’m happy to hear that! However, in an interview, we want to know why YOU want to be here and that you did some research on the company and what opportunities we can offer to help your career. Chances are, we’ve already seen your last name, recognized it, and tied you to someone we know. Now, when we ask “why engineering/finance/supply chain/etc.” then it is perfectly acceptable to say that your parent or relative is in a similar field and that is how you gained exposure to it and an appreciation for it. “My mom is a nurse, so my sister went into nursing…” – those are nice stories of why you entered a certain field.
Knowing these job interview musts will immediately increase your chance for internship interview success. Above all else, be prepared and enthusiastic… and you will get noticed!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Catch Careers!
About the Author: Christina Kach is a Senior Business Analyst on the Continuous Improvement team for a financial services company in Boston, MA. She holds a BS Degree in Industrial Engineering from Northeastern University. While at NU, Christina completed three internships in the fields consumer products, aviation, and government defense. It was during this time Christina’s interest in mentoring began.
Before starting her new position in Boston this fall, Christina spent five years at a Government Defense Company, focusing on Lean implementation and process improvement in a manufacturing environment, while also completing an Operations leadership development program. Outside of work, she is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Engineering Management also from Northeastern, continues developing her Lean and business skills, enjoys coaching students and young professionals, and is SME Lean Bronze Certified.
Image courtesy of theguardian.com… thank you!